The harvest period is a well-deserved reward for summer residents for their hard work. However, so that vegetables do not spoil and do not rot during storage, they need to be collected on time. If the period of ripening of the vegetables growing on the above-ground part of the bush can be seen immediately, then this cannot be said about the roots. Therefore, the question of when to harvest potatoes so that it remains until spring is quite relevant. This will be discussed in the article.
It's no secret that digging potatoes should be at the end of summer or early autumn. But how to determine the exact dates? Many factors affect the timing of harvesting potatoes, including:
- Climatic conditions of the region.
- Soil fertility.
- Variety of potatoes.
- Terms of landing.
- The amount of fertilizer applied.
Factors affecting potato ripening
There is no exact date of harvesting potatoes. There is no particular day in 2019 when potatoes can be harvested. The ripening period of the tubers depends largely on when the potatoes were planted in the ground. So, when planting tubers in late April, you can dig potatoes in early August.
Important! The most favorable month for planting potato tubers is May.
Digging potatoes also depends on the variety used to grow them. Below will be provided more detailed information about this. The potato harvest is also affected by how the hosts took care of the crop during the summer.
Some begin to dig up tubers at the end of July. This is done not for storage, but for cooking new potatoes or for sale in the market. However, it is impossible to collect new potatoes for storage for the winter. The young peel is easily damaged, so that the tubers dug prematurely, will quickly deteriorate and rot.
So, we suggest that you consider several factors affecting the ripening period of potatoes:
- Soil fertility. If there are few nutrients in the soil, then it’s time to dig the potatoes sooner. Well-fertilized, fertile land provides a longer period of growth of tubers, until late autumn.
- The amount of fertilizer applied. Maturity of potatoes will last due to organic fertilizers.
- The amount of moisture. The lack of moisture during the growing season of the root accelerates the ripening of potatoes. It is not surprising that in the dry summer harvest, as a rule, leaves much to be desired, as the tubers go small.
Weather forecast and harvest
The ripening period of the tubers can be controlled to some extent by man, while the weather conditions are beyond his control. Before you determine when to dig potatoes, it is important to observe the forecast.
- If prolonged rains are expected, then digging of potatoes should be carried out immediately. Otherwise, the overmoistened soil will provoke a deterioration in the quality of tubers, rot, and diseases of root crops. Well, on the other hand, when the crop is harvested from the wet ground, a lot of soil sticks to the shovel and tubers, which complicates the work process and makes it less pleasant.
- Cold can cause blackening of the tubers. The optimum air temperature during the potato harvest period is + 10 + 17ºС.
- Digging potatoes should be on a fine, clear day. After it is dug, it will be possible to dry the tubers in the air.
- If it is already cold in the autumn morning, then it is better to dig potatoes closer to dinner. The air will warm up by noon and will be more in tune with the temperature of the soil, still keeping the summer heat.
- It is necessary to harvest before frost. Otherwise, the tubers will no longer be suitable for storage and consumption.
How a potato variety affects the harvest period
Biological characteristics of the variety have a direct impact on the harvest period. Early varieties need to be collected in late July - early August. Harvesting potatoes of the mid-early variety is in the middle of August. Harvesting mid-season and mid-late potato varieties is carried out at the end of August or throughout September.
Depending on when the tubers were planted and when it’s possible to dig potatoes:
- Mid-season varieties clean up after 90-100 days after planting.
- Harvesting potatoes mid-late variety is carried out after 100-110 days after planting.
- Late varieties - 120 days after landing in the ground.
If prolonged rains are not foreseen and the bushes were not infected with late blight, the harvest period can be briefly postponed.A warning! If phytophthora is present on the leaf, then before digging the potatoes, it is necessary to mow and burn it.
This event will save the tubers from infection and accelerate the process of ripening the crop.
If you decide to leave potatoes of early and mid-early varieties for digging in the fall, you must remove the tops. This is done in late July, if the potatoes are early and in the first week of August, if they are medium early. Over the next month, the tubers can still remain in the ground, if weather conditions permit.
The stage of maturation of potatoes can also be determined by the state of the peel. A thin and easily peeling skin indicates that the time to dig potatoes has not yet come. It is possible to dig up one bush for the sample, if the peel is not ripe, then you have collected unripe, young tubers. Try again after 7-10 days.
Tuber harvesting methods
Digging potatoes can be done by several methods. Most often, gardeners use for harvesting ordinary garden tools - pitchfork and shovel. However, this method requires a lot of effort from the summer resident. If age is closer to old, then the loin may not withstand such loads.
To facilitate the harvesting, special devices were designed, such as a walk-behind tractor and a potato digger. With the help of agricultural equipment, harvest is much faster and easier.
But in order for the digging of potatoes to be carried out with the help of special equipment, you must first cut off the tops. After a few days you can start the cleaning work. All elements of rotation on the motor block should be well lubricated. Soil-loosening parts should be pre-cleaned of hardened clay, earth, and pebbles. Blunt edges need to sharpen.
Rules of operation of the tiller when harvesting potatoes
There are a number of rules that must be followed when harvesting potatoes:
- In order not to have to change the direction of the motoblock when planting potatoes, you need to form even rows.
- The distance between the rows should be the same. The wheels of the tiller should be placed in the aisle to prevent damage to adjacent tubers.
- When working with a cultivator, it is better to dig out the tubers after 1 row. Otherwise, one vehicle wheel will move along the trodden path, and the other along the plowed land.
Before harvesting potatoes from the beds you need to prepare a place to dry the tubers. To avoid mechanical damage to root crops, it is better not to drop them. Otherwise, their shelf life will decrease several times.
It is better to reject unsuitable tubers immediately on the field, so that later you don’t have to waste time on it. Good tubers are packed in bags and stored in a cool dark place. So that the sunlight probably doesn’t break through to the harvest, the bags can be additionally covered with a thick cloth.
If, after harvesting, weeds and tops remain on the field, they can be left in the sun for several days, and then collected and buried in a compost pit. However, if the fungus or other diseases are present on the leaf, then it should be burned.
Observing the above recommendations, you can collect potatoes with a minimum of effort, and the harvest will be stored until the next harvest.
So that you can get more information, we invite you to view a video on the topic: